Ditch the Car, Travel by Foot

Being overweight or obese is now the norm, but few like to call this normal. 68% of adults are now overweight or obese (1). Studies now show that obesity can be related to physical inactivity and the time spent in car commute. While community design can make it more or less difficult to ditch the car in favor of travel by foot, just how walkable is your community anyway? Score your Walk Route here.

Depending on where you live; Cars may be required in order to commute from home, to work, and grocery store in sufficient time. Each additional hour spent in a car per day can be associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity. Conversely, each additional kilometer (0.62 mi) walked per day is associated with a 4.8% reduction in the likelihood of obesity (2).

Living in an asphalt nation; A good argument can be made that cars are a necessary prosthetic device. A prosthesis is an artificial device used to replace or augment a missing or impaired part of the body; or support a weak or deformed portion of the body. The average American spends 55-minutes behind the wheel driving 29-miles a day (3). A regular commute this long by foot would challenge the legs of even a well trained athlete.

There are many reasons why ditching the car for travel by foot may be advantageous, including;

  • Environment: Cars are a leading cause of climate change. Your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines.
  • Health: The average resident of a walkable neighborhood weighs 6-10 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood (4)
  • Communities: Studies show that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10% (5)

Is that car commute necessary? Find out if your community is foot travel friendly or car-dependent using the Walk Score Calculator, click here.

References:
(1) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15261894
(3) http://www.bts.gov/help/national_household_travel_survey.html
(4) http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/utah_study_links_walkable_neig.html
(5) http://www.sightline.org/research/books/CS2006/CS06

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